THE INFORMANTS who inform the Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) about corrupt government officials include estranged family members, jealous colleagues and people who may have an axe to grind. In several cases, the tip-off turns out to be right, since the accused is well known to the complainant.
An officer with the ACB said apart from cases in which complainants approached them directly about government officials demanding bribe, they often receive letters tipping them off corrupt officials. In a day, the Maharashtra ACB receives nearly 30 such letters, in which four to five complaints are from those close to the accused.
Giving an example, the officer said that the ACB recently received a complaint against an officer from the sales tax department from his son-in-law. The complainant and his wife had parted ways, some time ago. Even after the separation, the fights continued and the wife had eventually filed a complaint against the husband. The husband, who knew that his father-in-law accepted bribes, decided to get back and wrote to the ACB. He had given details about how his father-in-law would demand bribe and in what manner he invested it. Officials verified the details and found them to be accurate. Later, the ACB registered a case and the father-in-law was arrested, said the officer.
“We are only concerned with the accuracy of the information. The reason why it was provided to us is immaterial,” a senior officer told The Sunday Express. He added that six months ago, they had received a written complaint that a women officer in a government department was accepting bribes.
It turned out that the complainant was the woman’s daughter who had recently got married. “After her marriage, the daughter demanded that her mother share a part of the proceeds she got in bribes with her. When the mother refused, the daughter approached the ACB and gave details about how she collected bribes,” an officer said.
The officer added that they have had several sons-in-law, squealing on their fathers-in-law after the latter refused dowry.
He added that at times, colleagues who were invited for some function to another colleague’s house were taken aback by their luxurious lifestyles. They would then realise that with their salaries nearly the same, the colleague should not be able to afford such a lifestyle. This too, at times, led to complaints to the ACB. The officer added that several times, the information turned out to be misleading, and in such cases, no action was taken by the ACB.
An officer said that a standing joke in the ACB circles was the case of a deputy police commissioner who went to the house of a constable with his wife for a prayer meet. The couple was surprised to see expensive items in the constable’s house which they did not have. “The DCP’s wife then asked him when he would be able to earn as much as the constable,” he said.
Sanjay Barve, currently holding the charge of Director General, ACB, said that they checked the veracity of the information they received from family members before working on the complaints. “Often, the information is correct and register a formal complaint.”